July 25, 2009

Tribal Youth Music Academy

Indian teens use rap to bare problems affecting tribes

By Kaitlin ManryA 16-year-old boy with a red-and-black-checked bandana knotted around his neck leaned over a notebook and penned rap lyrics.

“I went to over 10 funerals in 1 year people had O.D.,” Kyle Moses wrote. “Running around getting keyed/Are they thinking it’s going to be better for them/80 bucks for 1 pill …”

Around him, other American Indian teens sat on a porch overlooking Port Susan Bay and wrote their own lyrics about prescription drug abuse and problem gambling.

“It’s really easy to rap about because I’ve seen a lot of it,” said Moses, a Muckleshoot. “I usually rap about the truth. I think it helps me because I like putting it out there and having other people see how it is.”

He spent the last week at Warm Beach Camp, attending a music academy for Indian teens that focused on ending prescription drug abuse and problem gambling. Around 50 teens participated, including a few from the Tulalip Tribes. They recorded their own CDs in a bunk-room-turned-recording-studio, helped create music videos about gambling and drugs, and bounced lyrics and poems off each other.

The camp, called the Tribal Youth Music Academy, was organized by the Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling with grants from the state Attorney General’s Office and the state Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, along with support from several Northwest tribes.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Short Dawg Tha Native on Tour, Eekwol Raps for Native Rights, and Rapper's Rez-Centric Reality.

Below:  "Fourteen-year-old Daryon Casady works on a song while Ella Adams looks on during a writing session Wednesday. About 80 kids spent the week at the Warm Beach camp writing poetry and songs about drug abuse and gambling." (Kevin Nortz/The Herald)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wondered why Indian youths tend to make the "Rez life" sound so horrible. As if that's how it is for everyone in every Nation(or tribe). It gives the negative impression that Indian Reservations are suicide traps in which the white man is winning the war through a clandestinal genocide. They give the idea that "Rez life" is a dead end. As a matter of fact, if they're so miserable about living on the Rez. Then move to the ghettos and make comparisons. I lived in both worlds(both in the cities and on the Rez), I would rather return to the Rez, than live in the cesspools of the city. It takes experience to understand that there really isn't any different in terms of rampant drug use, dealings, traffickings , murders and deaths that comes with it. Not to mention that gangs is 5 times as bad than it is on the Rez. Some folks are stuck here and they would rather trade places.